Israel ban Friday call to prayer at West Bank mosque

The ban has been described as ‘a dangerous precedent’ and ‘a cowardly breach of the freedom of worship’.

An Israeli soldier walks past Ibrahimi Mosque, which Jews call the Jewish Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the West Bank city of Hebron
An Israeli soldier walks past Ibrahimi Mosque, in the West Bank city of Hebron July 7, 2017. [Photo/Ammar Awad /Reuters]

Israel on Friday prohibited the Azan, the Muslim call to prayer, at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron, also known as Al-Khalil, according to Palestinian Religious Endowments Minister Yousef Adais.

In a press statement, Adais described the move as “a dangerous precedent” and “a cowardly breach of the freedom of worship”.

“Continued Israeli violations against the mosque clearly show that the occupation authorities, along with the settlers, are trying to exert total control over the area’s Muslim holy sites,” the minister asserted.

Mosque divided 

In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli American Jewish settler, gunned down 29 Palestinian Muslims as they prayed at the mosque before being killed himself.

Since then, the mosque – believed to have been built on the tomb of Prophet Ibrahim – has been divided into a Muslim section (45 percent) and a Jewish section (55 percent).

The Ibrahimi Mosque is located in Hebron’s Old City district, where some 400 Jewish settlers now reside under the protection of about 1,500 Israeli soldiers.

In the past, Israel has attempted to place a ban on all mosques from using loudspeakers to call worshippers to prayer.

In March 2017, a bill to muffle mosques passed a charged parliamentary session as a preliminary reading with 55 votes in favour and 48 against as the assembly broke out into chaotic arguments. 

Under the proposed law, occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move that is not recognised internationally, would be included in the ban.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies